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The 471 goes back a long way.
From 1935, then and during and after the war it was operated by 20 seater Leyland Cubs from Dunton Green (DG), which were displaced by the 26 seater Guy Special GS class in 1953.
The route was Orpington Station - Green Street Green - Pratts Bottom - Knockholt Pound - Cudham - Green Street Green - Orpington Station, in both directions. Buses wore blinds that showed via points for the direction of travel rather than bold destinations. There were some journeys that did not go the whole way, including some to and from Dunton Green Garage. These non-circular journeys DID show destinations. One journey a day had a double-decker running up to Fort Halstead (MOD) from Sevenoaks.
Route 431 Sevenoaks - Star Hill - Knockholt Pound - Badgers Mount - Orpington . This had double-deck operation from war time and its primary pupose may have been to serve Fort Halstead(MOD). It was operated by STLs and RTs from (DG) varients included :-
431A Orpington-Green Street Green-Knockholt-Sevenoaks
431B Knockholt Pound-Sevenoaks
431C Knockholt Station-Fort Halstead
431D Orpington-Green Street Green-Knockholt-Fort Halstead.
The 471 was replaced in August 1986 with the introduction of ROUNDABOUT when London Regional Transport put the route out to tender as part of its Orpington network. It reappeared as the R5, operated by stylish Optare CityPacers and Robin Hood Iveco minibuses from the Orpington (OB) garage in St Mary Cray.
The route was more or less the same as the circular 471. Some afternoon and evening buses turned off after going up from Pratts Bottom to Knockholt Pound and then continued to Badgers Mount via Halstead, and then onto Orpington (the R5A).
The R6 (replaced Route 431) also introduced in 1986 and ran Orpington Station - Orpington War Memorial - Chelsfield Station - Chelsfield Village - Halstead - Badgers Mount - Knockholt Pound - Star Hill - Dunton Green - Riverhead - Sevenoaks Bus Station.
Both the R5 & R6 were timed to meet at Knockholt Pound and buses waited for each other as to enable passengers to make connections.
Route 47 used to work out to Knockholt Pound too, until leisure traffic killed off demand
Green Line Route 706 also ran the same between Green Street Green and Sevenoaks but to and from London Victoria via Bromley
My thanks to Ian Smith for the above history. More information can be found at his site by clicking here
ADDITIONAL ROUTE 471 HISTORY
The 1924 General map of country area services shows the villages of Cudham, Knockholt and Halstead had yet to be served by bus. East Surrey Route S2 Bromley – Sevenoaks followed the A21 to the east via Polhill, while the S10 Bromley – Reigate skirted the area to the west via Westerham Hill.
Under London Transport from 1933, these routes became 402 and 410 respectively, but continued to follow their East Surrey lines of route. However, the 1934 LT Country Area timetable shows a huge expansion of routes linking the North Downs settlements with Sevenoaks and Orpington.
The circular service resembling current route R5 started life as route 419, whose terminal was Green Street Green. Curiously, this was the original terminal proposed in the 1985 Consultation Exercise for two circular routes L5 and L6. However, in the 1930’s, Green Street Green provided shopping, employment and recreational opportunities that rivalled Orpington. By the mid-eighties, the situation had long changed, and Orpington became the main objective of the North Downs villagers. Yet the planners sought to introduce a need to change buses in Green Street Green, albeit with the intention of using resources to increase the frequencies around each loop. After consultation, routes R5 and R6 were created as described on the Roundabout Routes page.
In 1934, route 419 is shown as working from Green Street Green via Cudham, Knockholt Pound, Halstead, Knockholt Station, A21, Pratts Bottom, to Green Street Green. In this direction, four journeys operated in the morning Mondays to Saturdays, and two on Sundays. After midday, the route operated in the opposite direction, with six journeys Sundays to Fridays, and seven on Saturdays.
Route 471 is shown in the 1934 timetable, but operating daily at two hourly intervals in each direction from Westerham Hill via Hawley’s Corner, Grays Road, Scotts Lodge, Knockholt Pound, Halstead, Polhill, Dunton Green, Riverhead to Sevenoaks.
Also in 1934, route 431 ran daily every two hours in each direction from Orpington, via Green Street Green, Pratts Bottom, Rushmore Hill, Knockholt Pound, Halstead, Polhill, Dunton Green, Riverhead to Sevenoaks.
Central area red buses had penetrated the area at weekends since 1923, when route 47 (Shoreditch – Farnborough) was extended to Green Street Green and on summer Sundays from 1934, via Rushmore Hill to Knockholt Pound.
After World War II, the Bromley area January 1947 timetable shows that considerable “rationalisation” had occurred. Route 402, together with Green Line 704, remained loyal to the A21, but route 419 had disappeared from the area in favour of circular routeings on the 471 based on Orpington Station. The 431 operated Orpington – Sevenoaks but via Chelsfield village instead of Green Street Green. However, the frequencies in 1947 reflected the much higher patronage enjoyed by country routes in that pre- commonplace car ownership era. Route 471 ran hourly in each direction, increasing to half-hourly in the afternoons daily. Route 431 also ran hourly, daily, with many extras serving Fort Halstead, for example, with variants deserved of suffixes to the basic route number.
The 47 was withdrawn from Knockholt Pound in 1953, and the 431 and 471 eroded gradually, losing their Sunday services in 1967. By 1972, frequency reductions had become so severe that the circular nature of route 471 was all but abandoned, in favour of rerouteing at Knockholt Pound, to support route 431 to/from Sevenoaks.
In 1981, route 471 became a circular operation again, every two hours in each direction, as help in the form of Green Line 706 (renumbered from 704 in 1979) arrived, being diverted off the A21 to recognise Halstead and Knockholt Pound en route to/from Sevenoaks. The had 706 lost its “express” status that year, becoming more of a local service upon withdrawal of route 402.
Such was the state of affairs upon the birth of Roundabout in 1986.